How to Lay Dimes with a MIG Welder: A Comprehensive Guide

Laying dimes with a MIG welder is a challenging yet rewarding technique that requires precise control over the welding parameters and a keen eye for detail. This comprehensive guide will provide you with advanced hands-on details and technical specifications to help you achieve a consistent and even stack of dimes pattern with your MIG welder.

Wire Feed Speed and Voltage Settings

The wire feed speed and voltage settings are crucial in determining the appearance and penetration of the weld bead. A slower wire feed speed (200-300 IPM) combined with a higher voltage (22-25V) will result in a wider and flatter bead, while a faster wire feed speed (400-500 IPM) and lower voltage (18-21V) will produce a narrower and more pointed bead. Experiment with different combinations to find the optimal settings for your specific setup and desired weld bead appearance.

Travel Speed

how to lay dimes with a mig welderImage source: Mig weld example

Maintaining a consistent travel speed (2-4 IPS) is essential for ensuring even heat input and penetration. Traveling too fast can lead to under-penetration, while traveling too slow can result in over-penetration and excessive heat input. Use a metronome or a speed control device to help maintain a steady travel speed.

Gun Angle

The gun angle plays a significant role in achieving proper fusion and penetration. Hold the gun at a 15-20 degree angle to the work surface, with the contact tip pointed slightly ahead of the weld pool. This angle helps to direct the arc and molten metal into the joint, ensuring a strong and consistent weld.

Weave Technique

To create a stack of dimes pattern, use a weave technique. Start with a straight bead, then weave back and forth perpendicular to the direction of travel, with each weave slightly overlapping the previous one. The width of the weave should be approximately 1/4 to 1/2 inch, depending on the desired bead appearance.

Cleanliness

Ensure that the work surface is clean and free of any contaminants, such as dirt, rust, or oil. These impurities can negatively affect the quality of the weld and lead to defects like porosity or lack of fusion.

Gas Flow

Adjust the gas flow rate (20-35 CFH) to ensure proper shielding of the weld pool. Too little gas can result in oxidation and porosity, while too much gas can cause turbulence and affect the weld bead appearance.

Heat Input

Control the heat input by adjusting the wire feed speed, voltage, and travel speed. The optimal heat input range for laying dimes is typically between 1,000-3,000 J/mm. Too much heat input can lead to excessive penetration and distortion, while too little heat input can result in lack of fusion and poor bead appearance.

Puddle Control

Closely monitor the weld puddle and make adjustments to the heat input and travel speed as needed to maintain a consistent and even puddle. A well-controlled puddle is essential for achieving a uniform and visually appealing stack of dimes.

Remember, practice is key when it comes to laying dimes with a MIG welder. Don’t be discouraged by your initial attempts – keep experimenting with different settings and techniques until you find the perfect combination for your specific setup and desired weld bead appearance. Additionally, consider investing in a welding magnifying lens or using a welding helmet with a built-in magnifier to help you see the weld puddle more clearly and make more precise adjustments.

References:

  1. Reddit Post: Tried to Lay Some Dimes with a MIG Welder
  2. YouTube Video: How to Lay Dimes with a MIG Welder
  3. Miller Welding Forum: Stack of Dimes MIG Welds
  4. YouTube Video: Laying Dimes with a MIG Welder
  5. YouTube Video: How to Lay Dimes with a MIG Welder